Diversion from urgent climate action

How the European nuclear lobby undermines the EU’s energy future
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In several countries in the EU, as well as in the Brussels corridors of the European Union institutions, a vehement debate is currently taking place regarding the demand for more nuclear power. Only five years ago, this attention hardly existed. This study looks at the sudden surge in attention for nuclear energy and tries to understand the role of different actors on the side of the nuclear lobby. It investigates the case of the Netherlands, which turned from a de facto nuclear phase-out country to one where expansion of nuclear energy is currently under preparation, as well as the European Union, where a large minority of Member States have brought nuclear back to the table in many climate-related legislative debates.

The current enormous political lobby for nuclear energy – at the party-political level in the Netherlands and by a substantial group of Member States in the EU – leads to a diversion of attention and capital from urgent and effective climate measures and threatens to delay urgent climate action.

This study provides ideas about how this lobby may be countered. The chances for that lie in the complexity of the issue and the realities on the ground that may force the executive – the government in the Netherlands and the European Commission in the EU – to prevent the nuclear debate diverting too much attention and capital from urgent and effective climate action, keeping in mind that nuclear power itself will deliver virtually nothing to the climate emergency’s resolution.

Read more content about nuclear power.

Product details
Date of Publication
June 2023
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents


Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Nuclear lobby in the Netherlands

3. Nuclear lobby in the EU

  Who is who in the Brussels nuclear debate?

  Who drives nuclear lobbying in the EU?

4. Final conclusions